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      Making Canvas the Star of the Course Evaluation Process

      Course evaluations are a key component of the quality and improvement process for virtually every institution, and without a doubt, the valuable feedback that students provide instructors and administration is THE star of course evaluations.  Given the importance of student feedback, let’s take a moment to consider the “operational process” of course evaluation.  You know, the operational process where the star for so many years had been paper - paper surveys distributed to every student every term, paper surveys then collected and sent through a scanner (or manually recorded, but that’s a different story entirely), and then finally paper reports that were laboriously created and distributed to faculty and to administration every term.  While this paper operational process served a purpose, it failed in terms of being efficient and timely, and likely consumed far too many institutional resources – not to mention all those trees!  

      Then came along the Internet, with boundless opportunities to improve processes.  Yet, many systems were simply recasting historically manual processes done on paper, and putting them online.  These approaches weren’t truly leveraging the power brought about by the Internet, or how the online environment could significantly transform these processes. 

      Several years ago when designing our integrated course evaluation solution for Canvas we set out to truly transform the operational process of course evaluation, and not just put it online and link it to Canvas.  We genuinely wanted to reimagine the operational process into one that was streamlined and efficient so that it required dramatically less manual staff time to administer, and significantly improved how quickly actionable results could be delivered to faculty and administration. Our goal was to make this task easily managed institution-wide by a single person, among their other full-time responsibilities. 

      In transforming course evaluations, it turns out a new star was born - Canvas. Leveraging Canvas, course evaluation operational processes have become more automatic, timely and insightful.

      Because Canvas already houses all your course information, student enrollments, and instructor enrollments, in the spirit of simplicity EvaluationKIT’s Canvas integration leverages this same information.  Your EvaluationKIT administrator can easily search and select all courses within Canvas (or segments of courses) and automatically use all of the Canvas course and course enrollment information directly in your course evaluation project.  You might ask what about when enrollments are added and dropped? We utilize the enrollment updates you make in Canvas too, and these updates are automatically aligned, ensuring the underlying data is in place to power the process, but also ensuring students who should be participating in surveys are, and ensuring those who have dropped courses or shouldn’t receive a survey don’t get one.  


      Leveraging Canvas also automates the timing of survey administration.  While some institutions have straightforward survey administration windows where surveys for all courses start and end on the same date, this isn’t the case for all.  When surveys need to align within a specific timeframe, institutions can set up automated survey timing based on existing Canvas course dates.  And, for those institutions who wish to allow their faculty and academic departments to manage the dates directly, we have functionality to allow them to do so directly within Canvas.  

      Of course, I have to mention the critical phase of the process where students take surveys, and process improvements gained as we have integrated survey taking within Canvas.  EvaluationKIT has been leading the way to great response rates in online surveys with a host of innovative features designed to encourage student participation.  Within Canvas we are able to offer a variety of automated notifications and survey access points in strategic locations within Canvas.  In fact, we were the pioneers in first inventing and deploying automated survey notifications within Canvas.  Beyond response rates, with an integrated process in Canvas, students have more time to provide thoughtful feedback in their surveys and they don’t need to be present on one specific day in the physical classroom to do so at the end of class.

      Lastly, Canvas streamlines the way we provide results and analytics to faculty.  During the survey period, you can keep your faculty informed through our integrated dashboards which show real-time response rates and highlight how many days are left in the survey window.  As well, access to course evaluation results can be immediate, if you schedule it to be.  And, faculty can receive notifications of their results availability directly within their Canvas course, and then seamlessly access a variety of course evaluation reporting and analytics directly within Canvas.  This way, an instructor can review their course evaluation feedback within their course, and allows the instructor to easily put into context the student feedback with that of their department and other courses, and historical courses the instructor has taught.

      We recognize that not all Canvas institutions have all their courses in Canvas (yet!), and that in some cases, data sources for the course evaluation process need to be external to Canvas (e.g., your SIS), and we have options in those cases too. So as you evolve your processes, think about Canvas being the star of your course evaluation process.  Leveraging data that you already populate into Canvas creates a vastly more efficient and timely course evaluation process, and positioning Canvas as the central point of access for your end users will simplify their lives too.

      Please come see EvaluationKIT at InstructureCon 2017, where we will be highlighting the most robust and proven integrated course evaluation features for Canvas.  Learn why more than 300,000 administrators and instructors rely on our solutions to innovate and transform course evaluation in higher education!  

      Keep Learning,

      Kevin Hoffman
      CEO & Co-Founder, EvaluationKIT